Around the world, border walls and nationalisms are on the rise as people express the desire to "take back" sovereignty. The contributors to this collection use ethnographic research in disputed and exceptional places to study sovereignty claims from the ground up. While it might immediately seem that citizens desire a stronger state, the cases of compromised, contested, or failed sovereignty in this volume point instead to political imaginations beyond the state form. Examples from Spain to Afghanistan and from Western Sahara to Taiwan show how calls to take back control or to bring back order are best understood as longings for sovereign agency. By paying close ethnographic attention to these desires and their consequences, The Everyday Lives of Sovereignty offers a new way to understand why these yearnings have such profound political resonance in a globally interconnected world.
Contributors: Panos Achniotis, Jens Bartelson, Joyce Dalsheim, Dace Dzenovska, Sara L. Friedman, Azra Hromadžić, Louisa Lombard, Alice Wilson, and Torunn Wimpelmann.
Introduction: Toward an Anthropology of Sovereign Agency, by Rebecca Bryant and Madeleine Reeves
1. Sovereignty in the Skies: An Anthropology of Everyday Aeropolitics, by Rebecca Bryant
2. Sovereignty as Generator of Inconsistent State Desire in Northeastern Central African Republic, by Louisa Lombard
3. "Because I Have a Hookup": Cheating Citizens and the Unbearable State in Post-Dayton Bosnia-Herzegovina, by Azra Hromadžić
4. Aspirational Sovereignty and Human Rights Advocacy: Audience, Recognition, and the Reach of the Taiwan State, by Sara Friedman
5. Gender, Violence, and Competing Sovereign Claims in Afghanistan, by Torunn Wimpelmann
6. Everyday Sovereignty in Exile: People, Territory, and Resources among Sahrawi Refugees, by Alice Wilson
7. Existential Sovereignty: Latvian People,Their State, and the Problem of Mobility, by Dace Dzenovska
8. Sovereign Days: Imagining and Making the Catalan Republic from Below, by Panos Achniotis
9. The False Promises of Sovereignty: Enclaves, Exclaves, and Impossible Politics in the Jewish State, by Joyce Dalsheim
10. Signs of Sovereignty: Mapping and Countermapping at an "Unwritten" Border, by Madeleine Reeves
Epilogue: The Ironies of Misrecognition, by Jens Bartelson
Rebecca Bryant is Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Utrecht University. Mete Hatay is Senior Research Fellow at the Peace Research Institute Oslo Cyprus Center.